July 19, 2019

Nets win 2019 NBA Free Agency with the acquisition of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan; lose D'Angelo Russell, Ed Davis, and other players

The Brooklyn Nets have been struggling to obtain top-tier NBA players in what seems like forever, and shortly after 6:00 p.m. on June 30, 2019, as soon as the NBA Free Agency period opened, it was as if the Brooklyn Nets hit the lotto. For months, not only did New York City sports talk radio hype Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant going to the New York Knicks during free agency, but their national brethren also chimed in. So, when the news broke that the Brooklyn Nets signed Irving and Durant, radio personalities became punching bags and psychologists depending on the caller. Nets fans came out of the woodwork to express their joy and apprehension. Most were concerned about Durant’s Achilles injury. Some felt a little bit of trepidation about the age Durant will be when he can finally play again, losing D’Angelo Russell, and whether Irving is capable of leading. All are legitimate concerns. But when one looks at the landscape of top-tier NBA players who were free agents, it would have been malpractice for the Nets not to try to sign them. There are also reports that DeAndre Jordan will sign a four-year, $40M deal with the Nets and that Durant and Irving will both take less than the max so DeAndre Jordan can receive $40M. Jordan can also be a help to Nets center, Jarrett Allen, who is going into his third season with the team.

In the last decade, Nets fans have been on a roller coaster ride. They have watched the Nets move from New Jersey to Brooklyn. They were there when Nets management tried to reel in LeBron James, and then later, Dwight Howard in his last year with the Orlando Magic. And, no one can forget the Nets trade with the Boston Celtics for the Big 3: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. It was at that introductory press conference presenting the Big 3 that Brooklyn Nets principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov talked about being a championship contender.

 

At the time, most reporters expressed publicly and privately that Billy King did one heck of a great sales job. And, some even laughed, particularly as the Nets’ fortunes started sinking. Truthfully, it was no laughing matter. No business-minded person wants to see red ink on a balance sheet. And to a large extent, during that time, Brooklyn’s economy was tied to the Barclays Center’s profitability. Fortunately, Prokhorov moved quickly and changed the management of the Brooklyn Nets and replaced King with Sean Marks, who brought in Kenny Atkinson, who has a reputation for bringing out the best in players, particularly point guards, as the head coach to replace Lionel Hollins. Prokhorov also did one other thing to help Marks and Atkinson, he gave them the breathing room to right the sinking ship.

Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson 750x422Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks (l) and Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson

Nets fans already see big things in store for their team. Some are talking rings and others, see this team to be the next Eastern Conference Champions, particularly if Kawhi Leonard leaves the Toronto Raptors. If the Nets with this new composition of players get to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, this season, it will be considered a smashing success considering the Nets’ history. If it should win the East, and that is a big if, well let’s just say the City of New York will have to close down Flatbush Avenue because there will be dancing in the streets. And, some New Yorkers, because we are a bold bunch, may hold a simultaneous street party in front of Madison Square Garden.

The real NBA Basketball rivalry in New York City starts now.

Brooklyn Nets host more than basketball, the game featured Russian Culture Night and a welcome back to Brooklyn for Lance Stephenson 

On a game night when the Brooklyn Nets hosted an Evening of Russian Culture, the team needed a fourth-quarter rush to prevail for its sixth straight victory over the scorching Indiana Pacers, who came in on this late Sunday night riding its own four-game winning streak. These two streaking teams could possibly see each other in the playoffs. Way too early to say, but right now if the playoffs started today the Nets would be the fourth seed and the Pacers would be the third seed. Also, the Nets and Pacers present great match-ups of all-star caliber players Joe Johnson vs. Paul George and Brook Lopez vs. Roy Hibbert.

This was no ordinary night at the Barclays Center, there was a great team matchup inter-weaved with two big stories: Russian Culture Night and the homecoming of Lance Stephenson.

Russian Culture Night envisioned by Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, the Barclay's Center was packed with thousands of Russian-Americans waving the Russian flag. Among the Russians highlighted this night were Oleg Kolomyets who brought a lot of energy introducing the players on both teams and Alexander Markov, a violinist, who did a stunning job with the American National Anthem and at the halftime show with a glow-in-the-dark violin and bow performance.

The other half of the biggest story of the night was the homecoming of one of the most successful New York City high school basketball players in PSAL history. Pacers starting shooting guard Lance Stephenson of Abraham Lincoln High School was coming into Barclays with a season-high 39 minutes, 17 points, and four steals in a win against the Bobcats. Stephenson's improved play definitely caught the attention of Brooklyn Nets Interim Head Coach PJ Carlesimo who clearly knows a lot about New York City players. After all, Carlesimo played college ball at Fordham University in the Bronx, NY and he coached men's college basketball at Wagner College on Staten Island. At the pregame press conference, P.J. Carlesimo illustrated his knowledge about Lance and the history of New York City basketball.

"I have followed Lance Stephenson a lot," said Coach Carlesimo. "He has really improved from last year. He has really matured doing the little things that are helping his team win games."

"I recall not only watching the PSAL, and CHSAA but also the CYO leagues. Brooklyn is a big city they also have talent that even pre-dates me, Billy Cunningham, and Connie Hawkins," Coach Carlesimo added.

Unfortunately, due to a re-aggravated toe injury in the first quarter, Lance Stephenson's storied homecoming was short-lived, as he only played six minutes. However, taking the spotlight was tri-state area star, Teaneck, NJ David West of the Pacers who was coming off his first career triple-double (14,12,10). West gave the Nets problems for the first three quarters. West had 23 points at the end of the third quarter keeping the Nets down by six.

Nevertheless, the fourth quarter was an entirely different story for Nets.

Защита is Russian for defense and it was chanted over the surround sound at the Barclays Center, which seemed to help the Nets defense. The defense then sparked the offense, which guided the Nets turnaround. P.J. Carlesimo sent a furious double team commanded by Kris Humphries to shut down West. Pacers could not adjust and ended up shooting three for twenty-two in the fourth quarter prompting a 17-0 run by the Nets. A strong fourth quarter performance by the Nets big three, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez really put Brooklyn over the top scoring 22, 20, and 15 (ten in the fourth quarter) respectively. All three players talked about how they are starting to gel which allows them to be more aggressive.

With a final game score of Nets 97 – Pacers 86, the Nets have no time to rest. On Tuesday, January 15, it faces the team in which it grand opened the Barclays Center--- the Toronto Raptors. The Nets look to extend its winning streak to seven and improve to 9-1 under interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo.

Leaving Boston Brings Mixed Emotions for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce

The Brooklyn Nets today introduced its newest team members: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry.

The players expressed honest emotions about moving to the New York region.

Pierce and Garnett spoke about the difficulty of leaving Boston but understand the Nets provide them with a better opportunity to compete. Pierce, clearly experiencing separation anxiety, revealed a full spectrum of emotions, as he leaves the Boston Celtics, the only NBA franchise he's ever known.

"You know, it's tough," he said, "when you've been in a situation like me for 15 years, and you come to an organization, the Brooklyn Nets. But when you look at what they're trying to do here, win a championship, bring in the pieces necessary – a new arena, new owners, new excitement – it really brings a little bit of excitement.

"Obviously I would have loved to end my career in Boston, but that day and age is probably over with, a lot of players ending their careers in one city. I just, when the trade happened you felt excited, especially with Kevin and Jason coming along (to make) the situation, not only for me but for each other, a little more comfortable. And the ultimate drive is winning a championship. Obviously, Boston is going in a different direction and at this point in our careers, we're championship-driven. We've made a lot of money in our careers, won a number of awards, and I think at this point right now we're all about winning a championship. Brooklyn, we feel, gives us the best opportunity."

Starting with a "What's up, Brooklyn!," Garnett co-signed on Pierce's sentiments about moving from Boston.

"Very similar to what Paul said, I think he summed it up," said Garnett. "It's unfortunate that we have to obviously move from Boston, but I feel like both sides are going in different directions. For me, one of the major reasons I decided to come here was because the bones of this. I feel like adding what you see up here, with the bones of what they have already, with Brook (Lopez), Deron (Williams), Joe (Johnson) and the other pieces they have here, I feel this gives us the best option to win again, to win it all. I'm embracing this opportunity, my family's embracing this opportunity, we're looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to it."

Terry is looking forward to playing in Brooklyn, but his experience is much different from Pierce. His is similar to career military personnel.

"To be able to take another journey with these two outstanding gentlemen right next to me (Pierce and Garnett) is just an honor," said Terry. "I've been in Atlanta, Dallas, Boston. And now to be able to call Brooklyn my home, I'm just very blessed and honored. And ready."

Although Garnett, Pierce, and Terry are ready to roll, it's clear that the trade hit Pierce the hardest.

"It hasn't really sunk in. I think it's really starting to sink in as we speak, just being in this arena," he said. "I saw my jersey up in the locker room, and it's like you saw the trade and it was like, okay there's a trade, but for me to actually be here now looking for a place to live, being in this arena, trying to get to know my way around the city, it's really starting to sink in now that this has become real."

"I'm no longer a Boston Celtic. I'm a Brooklyn Net. That's what it is right now. It's business, at some point we all have to move on. I'm here to try to create some kind of legacy here in Brooklyn."

This probably explains Pierce's recent Twitter frenzy with pictures of him in a Celtics uniform.

Watch VIDEO: Scenes from the Press Conference Introducing Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry

Andrew Rosario, Chief Correspondent, What's The 411SPORTS' takes us inside a press conference held at the Barclays Center introducing the newest members of the Brooklyn Nets team.

Gary Sussman, Vice President, Public Relations, opened the press conference with the introduction of Nets General Manager Billy King who lauded Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. These new members of the Brooklyn Nets make the team a formidable force in the NBA's Eastern Conference and a championship contender.

Prokhorov Wants A Ring

Brooklyn Nets Principal Owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, flew in from Moscow specifically for this occasion. Prokhorov didn't mince any words, he expects the Brooklyn Nets to be a championship contender. He noted that Garnett, Pierce, and Terry each have at least one ring, while at the present moment, he has none.

Also in attendance were Brooklyn Nets Head Coach, Jason Kidd; Bruce Ratner, Chairman, Forest City Ratner Companies and Developer of the Barclays Center; Brett Yormark, CEO, Brooklyn Nets; and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

 

Photo Credits: Alexis Williams/What's The 411 Networks

The end-of-season stench of disappointment that occupied the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, the newly minted home of the NBA Brooklyn Nets, is gone, for now.

What has replenished the stench is a new smell, more appealing to the ever-growing fan base that the Nets continue to grow. That new smell, similar to a new car smell is hope, opportunity, and expectations. Those are the words that can be and will be attached to the Nets as they begin their 2013 NBA campaign on the road against a promising Cleveland Cavaliers basketball club. What's different about this year's assembled Nets team, despite its new home, is billionaire boys' club owner Mikhail Prokhorov's recently retired and just hired NBA coach Jason Kidd and the new additions that they have acquired to help bolster their roster with the expectations of positive results.

Welcome, Paul Pierce, the 36-year-old veteran, or as we like to refer to him as "The Truth", who has produced a resume that boasts an NBA championship, an NBA Finals MVP and 10 All-Star selections most notably. Meet Kevin Garnett, who aided Pierce in achieving their first NBA championship in 2008 with the Boston Celtics. Garnett is also the proud owner of an impeccable resume, which includes 15 All-Star selections, an MVP award, and the Defensive Player of the Year award, utilizing his anger to induce pain on everyone, not on his team. These Hall of Fame-bound players have to be properly introduced and separated from the rest of the players that complete the Nets offseason moves, and those players include journeyman Jason Terry, wingman Alan Anderson, a rehabilitated and resurrected Shaun Livingston, forward Andrei Kirilenko, and 1st Round Draft Pick center, Mason Plumlee. When you review the Nets 2012-2013 NBA season, analyzing their wins, playoff success or lack thereof, and compare it to the offseason roster changes to modify their chances within the eastern conference there's only one question that needs a response. How good can the Nets be this season? I think they can be very good, but at what expense?

When teams agree to swap players, contracts or draft picks, the overall and general goal is to rid themselves of their unwanted parts to gain something in return that they value more than what they have decided to give up. In this case, the Nets gave up relatively young starters and role players in forwards Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and guards, Marshon Brooks and Keith Bogans. The combination of Pierce and Garnett representing the upgrades in the starting lineup over Humphries and Wallace at both forward spots is a no-brainer every day of the week, but the difference is which tandem is actually capable of remaining on the court for the duration of an entire 82-game NBA regular season. The Boston Celtics realized that their condensed version of a dynasty, which produced an NBA Championship, had come to a close. On the other hand, the Nets felt that the addition of two soon-to-be Hall-of-Famers may be exactly what they need to make their dreams of contending for the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy a reality.

Basically, the Nets want to win now, but can they really? The Eastern Conference for all intended purposes has regained its honor back in being a respectable conference. The infusion of young talent and well organized and assembled teams spell trouble for the Nets in its climb to reach the mountaintop. Derrick Rose is healthy this year, returning to the same Bulls team that eliminated the Nets in the 1st round of the 2012-2013 postseason. Rose accomplishes the feat of the missing bulk to the Bulls' starting lineup. The Indiana Pacers added backup point guard CJ Watson, and forwards Chris Copeland and Luis Scola to replenish its bench. The Pacers also have All-Star forward Danny Granger back from injury to pair alongside budding star forward Paul George, who enjoyed the finest NBA season of his career averaging 17.4 points and being selected to his first All-Star team. The other NBA team sharing the same state with the Nets in neighboring Manhattan is the New York Knicks. It, too, has altered its roster adding famed NBA bad boy Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) to further improve its team defense. The Knicks also acquired forward Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors to help take the pressure off star forward Carmelo Anthony on the offensive end of the court. Meanwhile, the defending Champs in the Miami Heat are prepped for another title run. The Heat boasts the "Super Friends" in forwards Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and guard Dwyane Wade. The Heat also added much-needed size to its frontcourt in signing former 2007 number 1 overall draft pick in center Greg Oden, as well as, scoring punch off the bench by forward Michael Beasley, the Heat's former Number 2 overall draft pick in 2008.

On paper, the Nets can contend, but the court is where it matters. The questions that the Nets will be forced to answer beginning October 30th, on the road in a meet and greet with the Cleveland Cavaliers will be: Can Jason Kidd inspire starting point guard Deron Williams to play at a level that we have not seen yet? Can Jason Kidd in his initial year as a Head Coach manage the variety of personalities at his disposal? Will Pierce and Garnett survive the 82-game schedule to play in meaningful games in May and June? Will the defense be able to control the game that best fits their strengths, as they will have a difficult time defending the fast-break as well as completing them? And finally, will the bench be able to pick up the time that Pierce and Garnett will inevitably miss this year to keep the team afloat in their absence? If the Nets can answer all of these questions, Brooklyn will have a summer for the ages, but this is their Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test and not everyone can obtain their Masters.

After battering and bruising the New York Knicks by 41 points on Sunday, Dec. 8, the Boston Celtics lost to the Brooklyn Nets 104-96 on Tuesday at the Barclays Center.

In Deron Williams' return to the lineup after missing nine straight games, he scored 24 points. It was the first match-up for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce against their former team as members of the Brooklyn Nets.

It was also the first time Garnett played against the Celtics--the last time was March 4, 2007, when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

After the game, Garnett and Pierce both gave credit to Williams who had been out for the majority of the beginning of the season due to a sprained left ankle.

"D-Will set the tone for how we were going to play tonight," Garnett said.

"He's the head of the snake," Pierce said. "I mean he's one of the most important pieces of what we're trying to do here, what we're trying to build and trying to win a championship."

Pierce didn't start, but Williams said he gave the team a 'big boost off the bench.'

Coach Jason Kidd thought so too and has even considered bringing Pierce off the bench going forward.

But Kidd has taken a lot of heat thus far for the Nets' poor record and addressed his job security after fans were calling for his immediate firing.

"That's part of the job, you have to accept it, there are no excuses, you have to try to win," Kidd said when asked about his job. "Whatever any owner decides to do, that's his decision. For us, to have guys ready to play, no matter who it is, injuries or no injuries, you have to have guys ready to play. Patience is something I've always had and I still do and I still believe the process will work itself out. As a whole, we still believe we can win and have a positive season."

Last year, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov fired coach Avery Johnson after 28 games last season. Assistant coach, PJ Carlesimo took over for the remainder of the 2013-2014 Season, but he too was fired after the Nets lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Chicago Bulls.

The Nets will take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald are also talking about a controversy at OKC Thunder; Kaepernick Update; Derek Jeter stays home, and more!

WHAT’S POPPIN’ PART 1:

The NBA PLAYOFFS are finally here

Q. Let’s talk about what we’ve seen so far and any predictions?

Cowboys cut Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys released Dez Bryant and Bryant took to social media to express his frustrations and love for the Cowboys’ fans. Bryant also expressed his desire to stay in the NFC East.

Q. What are your thoughts on this Dez Bryant situation and do you think he could land in NFC East?

Will Colin Kaepernick get a meeting with the Seattle Seahawks?

The Seattle Seahawks invited NFL free agent quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, in for a workout and upon learning that Kaepernick may not have given up on kneeling for the National Anthem, reportedly Kaepernick’s workout has been postponed.

Q. Let’s dissect this.

QUICK BITES:

Russell Westbrook clinched a triple-double average for the second consecutive season.
• If his team gets past the San Antonio Spurs, Stephen Curry is reportedly targeting a return for the second round of the NBA playoffs.
• Free agent Mark Sanchez has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2018 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.
• Washington Wizards' veteran guard Jodie Meeks suspended for playoffs for a reported drug policy violation
Sister Jean’s 15 minutes of fame is going into overtime. The Chicago Bulls looked into having Sister Jean rep the Bulls at the NBA Draft!

Quick Question: Adidas wants to sign Colin Kaepernick to an endorsement deal but has held off because the former 49ers quarterback isn’t on an NFL roster.

Q. Do you think this is just talk or could Adidas be sincere?

Poppin’ Part 2

Welcome back to What’s The 411Sports. The Oklahoma City Thunder suspended play-by-play announcer Brian Davis for one game for his offensive on-air comment about Russell Westbrook. During the second quarter of OKC’s last game of the season, Davis blurted out about Westbrook, Is he out of his cotton-picking mind?

Q. Did the Thunder do the right thing in suspending Davis for one game?

Andre Ingram's NBA Dream Comes True

After toiling 10 years in the NBA G-League, Andre Ingram’s number was called to play for the Los Angeles Lakers’ against the Houston Rockets. It was the second to last game of the season and Ingram scored 19 points and three blocks. Postgame, Lakers head coach Luke Walton, presented Ingram with the game ball.

Q. Should the Los Angeles Lakers keep Ingram on its roster? If not, do you think he might get picked up by another team?

NY SPORTS REPORT

New York Yankees

Welcome back to What’s The 411Sports. Former New York Yankees shortstop, and now an owner of the Florida Marlins, Derek Jeter, decided to skip the trip to New York City when the Marlins played the Yankees.

Q. Did Derek Jeter make the right decision?

Jeff Hornacek Gets Fired from New York Knicks

As predicted, the New York Knicks fired head coach Jeff Hornacek and assistant coach, Kurt Rambis.

Q. Lots of names are being floated, who do you think has the best chance?

Brooklyn Nets Get the Sale

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has completed the sale of a 49% interest in the Brooklyn Nets to Joe Tsai. Mr. Tsai is executive vice chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group, a global internet company with businesses in e-commerce, cloud computing, and digital entertainment.

OFF TOPIC:

Now, we’re going off-topic. Cleveland Cavaliers PF/center Tristan Thompson was caught cheating on Khloe Kardashian, who gave birth to their first child on April 11th. According to various reports, the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan was enraged — including Kanye West! In fact, Radar Online is reporting that Kanye was prepared to give Thompson a beat down.

Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal came up winners at the US OPEN; the Cavs and Celtics Kyrie Irving – Isaiah Thomas trade dissected, Brooklyn Nets sale news

In this 96th episode of What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, are talking about how Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal  slayed at the 2017 US OPEN, the Cavaliers, and Celtics trade of Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, Danny Ainge getting thrown under the bus, Roger Goodell and the NFL on Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Brown, Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett's arrest by the Las Vegas police, the proposed sale of the Brooklyn Nets, the NY Yankees, Carmelo Anthony's outlook with the NY Knicks and his wife La La Anthony. Our Photo of the Week is Jeremy Lin and Caris Levert in Taiwan.

WHAT’S POPPIN’

2017 US OPEN

Congratulations are due to professional tennis players Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal on their grand slam wins at the 2017 US OPEN. Stephens beat Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0, to win the Women’s Final. And, on the men’s side, Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, beat South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to win the men’s US OPEN FINAL.

Boston Celtics – Cleveland Cavaliers Trade

Kyrie Irving has left the building. Irving is now with the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 pick by way of the Boston Celtics, and a 2020 pick from Boston.

The Courts Give Ezekiel Elliot a Reprieve

The Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot can play for the Cowboys this season despite Roger Goodell handing down a six-game suspension to Elliot for domestic violence. The NFL Players Association took the NFL to court to get a Temporary Restraining Order over the process by which Goodell came to Elliot’s punishment, and won.

NFL Give Josh Brown a Six-Game Suspension

The NFL, after suspending former New York Giants kicker Josh Brown 1 Game for beating his wife, quietly suspended him for 6 games. The league reopened the investigation based on new info and has yet to release its findings. The NFL concluded there was a violation of its personal conduct policy and imposed a 6-game suspension which Brown accepted without appeal.

NFL Supports Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett had a run-in with Las Vegas police when he was leaving a night club. Bennett says that the officer told him he would "blow my f*cking head off"

NBA and NBA Players Association Issue Joint Statement on Social Issues

Here’s a big contrast between the NBA and the NFL. Recently, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players Association executive director Michelle Roberts are encouraging players to speak out on social issues, stating to NBA players:

“None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly. Fortunately, you are not only the world’s greatest basketball players — you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference.”

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Brooklyn Nets’ players Jeremy Lin and Caris LeVert in Taiwan.

NY SPORTS REPORT

Brooklyn Nets for Sale

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is ready to do a slow dance to sell the team. Initially, Prokhorov wanted to sell a minority stake in the team, but because of the pace, he is willing to sell up to 49 percent and the remaining 51 percent shortly thereafter. Sources say Prokhorov is encouraged by the sale of the Houston Rockets for $2.2 Billion.

Carmelo Anthony Still with the NY Knicks

Carmelo Anthony is still a member of the New York Knicks even though both the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers have expressed interest in him. Additionally, the Knicks point guard situation isn’t knocking anyone’s socks off and the team is considering bringing in point guards Trey Burke and Jarrett Jack for training camp.

The New York Yankees in the Hunt

 Right now, there is enough space between the Yankees and the Orioles for the Yanks to get a wildcard spot in the playoffs.

OFF TOPIC

Now, let’s go off topic. New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony showed up unexpectedly at the launch of his estranged wife, La La Anthony’s, new denim line at Lord & Taylor in New York City. Carmelo proudly posted a photo of La La on Instagram.

Carmelo Anthony Instagram post of the launch of LaLa Anthonys new denim line at Lord and Taylor 613x400

 

After surrendering two straight to the likes of Washington and a heartbreaker in the city of brotherly love, the Brooklyn Nets failed to enter the win column, dropping their third straight to an Eastern Conference powerhouse, the Indiana Pacers 103-86.

The Nets continue to regress and now sport an overall regular season record of 9-18.

Any time these two teams match-up, a grind it out possession by possession game is to be expected, due to the half-court offensive styles these two teams execute, and that's what occurred tonight...... until Indiana's perimeter swingman Paul George and shooting guard Lance Stephenson decided to end the competitive tango.

Nets and Pacers Keep It Close Early

George and Stephenson combined for 52 points, with George scoring 26 points, grabbing six boards and dishing five assists; while Stephenson enjoyed his Junior's cheesecake, as the Brooklyn native was cooking in his environment recording 26 points, cleaning the glass with seven rebounds and also promoting the fact that sharing is caring dropping 5 dimes, all while establishing that he is one of the best two-way shooting guards in this league.

A close game early, as both teams subjected each other to poor offensive execution ending the first quarter with the Pacers leading by a deuce to the Nets 17; the Pacers took control of this game in the second and put it out of reach in the 3rd, accumulating their highest advantage over the Nets up to 24 points.

At the end of the half the Nets only trailed by six, 39 to the Pacers 45, but the increase in defensive pressure by the Pacers halted the Nets and their offensive success, as they exploded out of the intermission period on a 15-4 run solidifying their control on the game, as well as, hitting the 70 point mark on a 4-foot made jump-shot by Pacers forward Ian Mahinmi with 4:09 remaining in the 3rd period to the Nets 47 points.

If their frustrations weren't conspicuous regarding the overall game itself, Nets forward Paul Pierce's flagrant foul on starting Pacers point guard George Hill served as evidence with 4:22 remaining in the 3rd quarter when Hill stole a bad pass by Nets guard Joe Johnson and embarked on a one man fast-break only to be met by a close line by Pierce targeting Hills neck which ultimately led to his ejection.

To begin the fourth quarter, the Nets announcer addressed the sellout crowd of 17,732 in attendance, engaging and encouraging them to lift the Nets emotionally and "STAND UP," as he articulated through the loud speaker, which served no purpose as the fans stood and the Nets remained seated.

Every opportunity and threat the Nets posed was deflected by stellar defensive play by the Pacers, who accomplished this feat albeit missing their defensive anchor and last line of defense in starting Center Roy Hibbert due to foul trouble.

Nets guards Deron Williams had 9 points and 8 assists; Joe Johnson scored 17 points; and off the bench, guard and journeyman Jason Terry provided a spark totaling 11 points with 8 coming within the 4th quarter.

As Terry connected for two back-to-back three's with 5 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter reducing the Nets deficit to 18 points, 98-77, Stephenson answered with a three of his own pushing the lead back to 21, 98-77.

He was having one of those nights playing in front of his home crowd, an individual home game for Stephenson, as he posed with friends and family for pictures after the match had commenced.

In other words, Stephenson earned his Juniors Cheesecake, in a resounding and resonating fashion.

The return of Williams and Brook Lopez to the Nets lineup brought hope to the franchise which experienced tough times early in this season and the now loss of Lopez for the season creates even more of an uphill climb for the Nets to achieve respectability in a conference that has failed to live up to the hype which revolved around the celebrated pre-season player transactions.

The Nets will have to contribute down low on offense and defense by committee which means larger roles for Forward Kevin Garnett, rookie center Mason Plumlee, and Forward Andray Blatche.

The various injuries the Nets have been obligated to this year, I would think have served as a learning curve for first year head coach Jason Kidd forcing him to make intelligent in-game basketball decisions on a game-by-game basis.

Jason Terry Looking Forward

In the postgame festivities, Terry shared his thoughts on the overall state of the Nets.

"We're together," said Terry to media correspondents in the Nets locker-room.

"It's just a matter of us picking it up. If we have to get kicked in the butt whatever we have to do, we must pick it up," Terry added.

He even suggested their future Christmas day matinee with the Chicago Bulls.

"It's a great opportunity for a team to come up in here like Chicago, who's going to make you play hard each and every possession, all is not lost and we get another opportunity here at home on a special day and what better Christmas present to get than a win against the Bulls," Terry continued.

The Nets host the Bulls on Christmas Day and what follows is a pre-determined schedule that could influence the Nets franchise to make some drastic changes. After the Bulls, the Nets will host a winnable game against the Milwaukee Bucks, and then the plot thickens the day after the Bucks match, at Indiana, at the San Antonio Spurs and at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

So long to the team who posed a possible threat to the Miami Heat; now they must modify the dreams of the front office and its billionaire owner from Russia with love, Mikhail Prokhorov. With their injuries, stars failing to perform at the highest level, and a first year coach struggling to find his way on Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue, the Nets need more than hope they need luck, in the toughest place to find it especially in the city that never sleeps, as everyone else is up searching for their own.

VIDEO: Not a splashy name; but Atkinson gets high marks from other coaches and players

In this video, What's The 411Sports hosts, Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, are talking about the Brooklyn Nets hire of Kenny Atkinson as the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. 

Do you think the Nets made the best decision?

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